During a recent power outage, it occurred to us that not everyone out there is ready for such an event, or equipped with the items needed to lighten the sometimes stressful environment it can create.
We have put a few tips together that we hope everyone will find helpful when the lights go out.
(Keep candles handy; use them to decorate your home if at all possible. They look good and when the lights go out you can ease the tension room by room, lighting one decorative display at a time.)
A: If more light is needed, a piece of tinfoil carefully placed behind the candle will reflect the light into the room instantly doubling the candles lighting capacity.
B: You can also take a piece of tinfoil about 15″x 15″, and place a piece of tape (duct tape works great) on one side and tape it around the base of the candle. Make sure that it is a larger candle around 6 to 8″ tall, and as big around as the average sized soup can. This will allow it to burn longer without melting down to the base. Allowing the tape to remain cool and keep the foil attached.
This type of set up will ultimately allow you to shape the foil around the top of the candle in a bowl shape creating a cheap easy version of a lantern allowing you to focus the candles light where it is needed.
C: There are many different types of candles out there that are designed for survival situations and are meant to burn for long periods of time without issue, but for your typical power outage most display candles found in stores are sufficient. You may want to limit the amount of scented versions, because you will have many candles lit and the mixed smells could become overwhelming.
D: Finally 2 major rules to live by when candles are used:
1: Keep all lit candles stationary to prevent fires, if you need to walk around the house use a flashlight.
2: Above all before going to bed or leaving a room unattended put out all lit candles to prevent a fire. We suggest gathering everyone into a central area (Living room or dinning room) during an outage and only lighting candles in that occupied area. This might be a good time to reconnect and break out some board games.
(It may sound funny but when there is no power that usually means that the water is gone as well. In most cases you will be lucky to get 2 or 3 flushes per toilet before the reservoir tank is out of water for this we have one rule.)
1: If its yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.
Fridges & Freezers:
(When the power does go out most of us have no way of knowing exactly when it will be coming back on again. If left closed, on average you can go between 1 & 3 days without power before your current stock of chilled foods is lost to spoilage. We advise the following three rules to prevent early spoilage.)
1: If possible prepare meals that don’t involve items kept in the fridge or freezer to maintain their temperature as long as possible.
2: Avoid opening either of them unless absolutely necessary. If it happens to be winter and you have snow on the ground, setting items outside in the snow could save you from having to repurchase your freezers contents.
3: Last but not least if you do need to get something out, think ahead about what you want and get in and out quickly. Don’t make it Christmas shopping on Black Friday and let all that cold air out looking around with the door open.
(Most heaters need electricity to work or can give off dangerous fumes when used indoors. If you have a gas stove it may not light when you turn the knob, but the gas is still there. If you turn it on you can easily light it manually with a match, we recommend the extended grilling lighters to avoid burns. Use it to keep warm or cook as usual with one rule in mind.)
1: Above all make sure when you are finished you shut off the gas. We recommend trying to relight it immediately after shutting it off to make sure no gas is still coming out.
(In almost every case the power will come back on, keep this in mind when going to bed or putting your little ones to sleep. You don’t want to get the good news at 3am and have your house light up like the 4th of July!)
1: Before heading to bed check the light switches, TV’s, Radio’s and Computer or all of the above to make sure they are off. If you can’t remember if it was on when you lost power just unplug it until morning and save some energy in the process.
(If you’re up on your storage needs you should have some set aside, but for convenience sake keep a gallon or two in your fridge. Just make sure you take them out as soon as you loose power to maintain the cold and put them into a cooler to have some cold drinking water on hand.)
(If you can get yourself a 55 gallon drum and attach a faucet onto the base, it can be filled with tap water or collected rain water. It may not be drinkable but can be handy to carry in by bucket in case someone breaks the (Don’t flush the toilet rule) to refill the reservoir tank on the back of the toilet.)
(With young children these types of situations can be scary so try to plan ahead and talk to them about what to do when it happens. Try to also plan ahead to ease the situation by finding creative ways to maintain any routines they are used to.)
1: Get a few of the dome shaped push to turn on infomercial lights to substitute as a battery powered night light.
2: Use a MP3 player or Walkman with some simple portable speakers that can run off the built in earphone jack so they can still listen to their lullaby music if that is what they are used to. Any interruptions in a structured routine will result in a difficult time getting them to bed.
(The older the child the less help or comforting they will need but it is still smart to give them tools to adapt to the new circumstances.)
1: Give everyone their own flashlight, it will make them feel safe and come in handy if they need to use the bathroom. Don’t be surprised if the batteries are dead the next day, even big kids can be scared of the dark.
2: Keep a few glow sticks in the freezer; you can usually find cheap little sets at the dollar store. They can help to comfort them and save on flashlight batteries as well as turn a potentially scary night into a fun and cool night playing with glow sticks. Depending on the child’s age use good judgment or buy ones with a thick shell so they don’t break or crack and leak the fluorescent liquid, you never know if its toxic or not but if it glows it cant be that good.
Power outages can be scary but, when properly prepared and planned for can make for a night of peace and quiet. Free from the loud crazy TV, Video game, Radio and rumbling background appliance filled world we are all so used to.
It can give you a chance to sit down, read a book or take the opportunity to play an old fashion board game. Grow as a family and really begin reconnecting to those strangers we all so often take for granted (Our family).
P.S. For the couples out there, as long as you are lighting candles why not take advantage of the mood nature has already set up for you?
Tilden Carter loves to hunt, fish and do anything fun outdoors. Life is a test of self, proving to others and yourself that you are who you say you are. Do what you claim to do and die knowing you lived, loved and learned the whole way. Mistakes are a guarantee, failure is possible but getting back up is a choice. One we all have to make. I for the most part am a Jack of all trades and a master of none. I am far to curious to spend all my time on one thing when there is so much to experience. Life is a journey, I’m just happy I get to go on the hike!